C1 Crucial Egyptian Class 1 race challenge awaits Qatar Team
2008 CLASS 1 WORLD POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP
Egyptian Grand Prix, round 6 – October 23rd-25th, 2008
For immediate release
Monday, October 20th, 2008
QATAR CLASS ONE TEAM FACES CRUCIAL
EGYPTIAN RACE CHALLENGE AT PORTO MARINA
Sheikh Hassan views Porto Marina as crucial in title race
Al-Sulaiti and Nicolini well-placed for points’ haul in Egypt
DOHA (Qatar): This weekend’s Egyptian Grand Prix at Porto Marina is the most important of the season for the Qatar Class 1 World Powerboat Championship team, with His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and Abdullah Al-Sulaiti realising the full importance of achieving first or second positions if they are to stay in contention for the world title.
They will line-up in Qatar 96 and Qatar 95, alongside their regular throttlemen Steve Curtis MBE and Matteo Nicolini, for the Edox Pole Position competition on Friday, October 24th and the Egyptian Grand Prix on Saturday, October 25th.
The Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) is enjoying a most exciting season in its short and successful history, with Jay Price closing in on a first title in the UIM F1 World Championship and Sheikh Hassan bidding to cross the Gulf between Abu Dhabi and Doha in record time next month. But the outcome of the Egyptian Class 1 race could end or even boost the team’s chances of winning the Class 1 world title this year.
Dubai’s Victory Team lost an appeal against a decision in a recent race, but the Victory 1 team still arrives in Egypt with a 21-point lead over Qatar 96 and an 18-point advantage over Qatar 95, although Victory’s advantage in the Middle East championship is a mere five-points over Qatar 96 after the Doha race, with three rounds remaining.
"I had a feeling all along that Victory would lose that appeal and it would not go through," admitted Sheikh Hassan. "It was obvious that they made a mistake, so why go for an appeal? I guess the Victory Team decided to look through some old files to see how many points they needed to get the European titles! There are still 60 points available for everyone to turn things around, so we will see what is hiding in Egypt!
"It is very important that we win in Egypt. We need to get at least one title from the 2008 season and we will push for it. Qatar 95 also has a very good chance to be up there as well. We have not made any changes since the Romanian race. I do believe we are okay and have a good set-up for Egypt. I know that the boat is excellent in the rougher water and I hope that it will be rough in Egypt. I do believe that the electronics on board the Victory Team boats can help them in the rougher conditions though. It was approved last year at the same venue.”
Adding that extra spice to the weekend’s competition will be the resurgent form of the Norwegian Jotun boat that has taken back-to-back Class 1 wins in Norway and Romania and now holds fourth in the points’ standings.
Britain’s Chris Parsonage is also planning to return to the fold after missing much of the season, thus adding to the competition and excitement at the front of the field, where both Sheikh Hassan and Matteo Nicolini realise the importance of a good start in the race. Four of the 10 registered boats for the Egyptian race will be powered by V8 engines, with Al-Sulaiti again opting for the new V8 Sterling units that powered him and Nicolini to a fine second overall in Romania.
"The Pole Position on Friday will be critical,” adds Sheikh Hassan. “We need everything to keep us ahead of the Victory Team at the start of the main race, so pole position would definitely be very important and we will push hard to get it. We will not be racing the Qatar 9 boat in Egypt. We need to concentrate on both Qatar 95 and Qatar 96.”
Porto Marina is a tourist resort on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast and is hosting a round of the championship for a second successive season, after Sheikh Hassan’s throttleman Steve Curtis partnered Bjorn Gjelsten to victory last year in Spirit of Norway. Weather conditions on Egypt’s northern coast can be unpredictable at this time of year and there is a fair chance that rougher conditions will prevail for the second year, when boats tackle the 20-lap, 91.67Nm race.
The weekend’s action gets underway on Thursday afternoon with a two-hour official practice session on the race course. Practice will again be permitted on Friday morning for 90 minutes from 10.00hrs and the crucial Edox Pole Position competition gets underway at 14.30hrs.
The Qatar Team will be able to make any last minute changes to the set-up during a third official one-hour practice session from 10.00hrs on Saturday morning, before the crucial Egyptian Grand Prix fires into life from 14.30hrs.
CLASS 1 WORLD POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP – positions after round 5 of 8
1. Victory 1 - M Al Marri (UAE)/N Bin Hendi (UAE) – 81pts
2. Victory 7 - A Al Mehairbi (UAE)/JM Sanchez (France) – 71pts
3. Qatar 95 - A Al-Sulaiti (Qatar)/M Nicolini (Italy) – 63pts
4. Jotun 90 - B Jacobsen (Norway)/J Tandberg (Norway) – 62pts
5. Qatar 96 - H Al-Thani (Qatar)/S Curtis (England) – 60pts
6. Foresti & Suardi 8 - K Selmer (Norway)/G Montavoci (Italy) – 41pts
7. Spirit of Spain 88 - S Carrasco (Spain)/D Cirilli (Spain) –19pts
8. SeveneleveN 18 - G Manuzzi (Italy)/N Giorgi (Italy) – 14pts
9=. Negotiator 50 - B Eker (Norway)/C Parsonage (England) – 4pts
9=. Qatar 9 – M Nasser (Qatar)/L Nicolini (Italy) – 4pts
(Championship points include bonus points allocated to teams for running engines for two consecutive races - one point, per engine, per race)
CLASS 1 MIDDLE EAST CHAMPIONSHIP – positions after round 1 of 4
1. Victory 1 - M Al Marri (UAE)/N Bin Hendi (UAE) – 20pts
2. Qatar 96 - H Al-Thani (Qatar)/S Curtis (England) – 15pts
3. Victory 7 - A Al Mehairbi (UAE)/JM Sanchez (France) – 12pts
4. Qatar 95 - A Al-Sulaiti (Qatar)/M Nicolini (Italy) – 9pts
5. Foresti & Suardi 8 - K Selmer (Norway)/G Montavoci (Italy) – 7pts
6. SeveneleveN 18 - G Manuzzi (Italy)/N Giorgi (Italy) – 5pts
7. Negotiator 50 - B Eker (Norway)/C Parsonage (England) – 4pts
Jotun 90 - B Jacobsen (Norway)/J Tandberg (Norway) – 0pts
CLASS 1 EDOX POLE POSITION – latest positions
1. Victory 1 - 75pts
2. Qatar 96 - 59pts
3. Jotun 90 - 51pts
4. Qatar 95 - 37pts
5. Victory 7 - 27pts
6. Foresti & Suardi 8 - 16pts
7. SeveneleveN 18 - 14pts
8. Negotiator 50 - 7pts
9. White 4 – 5pts
9. Qatar 9 - 5pts
9. Roscioli Hotels Roma 88 - 5pts
12. Windmare 21 – 0pts
For further information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).